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Your old Game Boy Classic is a drone flight controller in disguise

The internet seems to produce ever more inventive ways of repurposing Game Boys and other old tech, and today we’ve got another example to add to the pile.

An individual by the name of Gautier Hattenberger, who according to Google Scholar is Assistant Professor of Flight Mechanics and UAV Systems at France’s ENAC school of Civil Aviation, posted a video of himself using a Game Boy classic to control a drone.

Yes, this time, Nintendo’s handheld isn’t being used to run modern games or operating systems, it’s been turned into a fully functional drone remote control.

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Hattenberger writes in a post of the Paparazzi UAV Blog: “Some time ago, I found my old Game Boy at my parents’ house. So the first thing that came to my mind was: can I fly a drone with this?”

And he wasted no time in finding out, posting the above video to YouTube after making some adjustments to the Game Boy. The drone itself is an AR.Drone 2.0 from Parrot.

As there is ample documentation online that provides technical details of these old handheld consoles, Hattenberger was able to turn his childhood toy into a drone controller fairly easily.

Related: Flying a drone – Everything you need to know

Game boy drone

An image he posted to the blog shows the setup he fashioned, consisting of a home-made connector, arduino, FTDI, and laptop – just in case you know what any of that means.

He explains it thusly: “the Game Boy is just sending the bitmask corresponding to the buttons being pressed (with an Arduino and a FTDI to convert Game Link signals to USB), and a small program on the ground station converts this into actual commands for the drone.”

You can check out the code over at GitHub if you want to give it a go yourself and are technical enough to understand how to get it working.

For now, we’re waiting to see what the internet has in-store for the next ingenious Game Boy repurposing.

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What do you think of Hattenberger’s project? Let us know in the comments.

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